No poppies for Sikh soldiers killed by their own people

Written by Gurpreet Singh | Published on: November 8, 2018

At least 50 Sikh soldiers were murdered by the mobs in India - commonwealth nation, in the first week of November 1984, following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.


sikh soldiers
 
As the world is getting ready for the annual Remembrance Day events, to commemorate the sacrifices of the soldiers who died in the line of duty during the First World War, there is a complete silence about the brutal killings of the Indian soldiers by the violent mobs because of their religious identity.
 
At least 50 Sikh soldiers were murdered by the mobs in India - Commonwealth nation, in the first week of November 1984, following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
 
The killings happened close to the Remembrance Day when the world was paying tributes to their war heroes for laying down their lives for safety and security of the people. But in the world’s so-called largest democracy, the mobs instigated by the followers of Indira Gandhi unashamedly captured and killed Sikh soldiers in retaliation for their leader's murder.
 
Most of these soldiers were travelling, either to join the active duty or returning home, when the violence against the Sikhs began after the news of Gandhi’s assassination broke out.
 
The mobs systematically killed thousands of innocent Sikhs as the police either remained a mute spectator or joined the gangs.
 
Many of the slain soldiers were in uniforms. It is a standard practice among the Indian soldiers to travel in uniforms especially on public transit. The mobs and their leaders, who their political masters claimed got carried away by nationalism and the assassination of a popular leader, remained undeterred in their mission to punish every Sikh, including the soldiers on the streets.
 
It’s a shame that the Indian state not only let ordinary Sikh civilians die like dogs but also let its goons go after the very people who have been serving in defence of their nation on the frontlines. The dead included a few high-ranking officers, while others were mostly junior soldiers. We may never be able to lay hands on the actual number of soldiers who were killed, but the Sikh massacre memorial built at Rakab Ganj Sahib Gurdwara in New Delhi bears the names of 50 Sikh soldiers who were murdered during the mayhem.
 
This is in sharp contrast to the respect and love the soldiers receive worldwide during the Remembrance Day week. Will there ever be a remembrance for those Sikh soldiers who were slaughtered by their own people? The Indian nation that itself was complicit in these killings won’t accept it, forget handing out poppies in their memory to the masses by the Indian army. Maybe Canada, that claims to be a Human Rights leader in the world or other Commonwealth states that recognize the contribution of Sikh soldiers in the world wars, one day speak out for those men who died at the hands of bigots. For now, just keep those Sikh soldiers in your prayers when you pin a poppy on your chest and go to a Remembrance Day event this weekend.